According to info from Hungarian outlet ProHardver, Intel’s “budget” Z690 boards will be as much as 30% slower than their top-end alternatives. The 12th Gen flagship Core i9-12900K will reportedly have a performance delta of up to 25-30% with the same cooling solution across various motherboards. The reason behind this is the VRM. Cheaper boards won’t be able to supply more than 135W of power (consistently) which is what’s required for optimal performance with the Alder Lake-S K series SKUs.
As a result of this, the Core i9-12900K will see its boost clock throttle after sustained use. The Core i7-12700K is expected to see a drop of 21-25% for the same reason, with the Core i5-12600K getting a 7-9% deficit. For a Core i9-12900K, a 10+1 phase 50A VRM with DrMOS is the recommended solution, with a 6+1 50A phase DrMOS VRAM being somewhat of a bottleneck.
Usually, the top-end Zx90 boards cost as much as $500+, but there are often a few budget options available for as low as $200. If you’re planning on buying a high-end Alder Lake-S SKU, we, therefore, recommend you check the motherboard VRM and power draw before you splurge.